Developer to market Marina Lofts in Fort Lauderdale as a condo-rental blend

Rising condo prices among factors to scrap original plan of three all-rental buildings

Apr.April 24, 2015 04:30 PM

Marina Lofts developer Asi Cymbal told The Real Deal that he will market the planned riverfront high-rise in Fort Lauderdale as a blend of condos and rental units, instead of a trio of all-rental buildings, as originally planned.

“We’re now looking at combining a condo project along with affordable luxury rentals,” plus a marina and retail space, Cymbal told TRD on Friday. “Condo prices have gone up quite significantly, and there seems to be a greater opportunity on the condo side at this point in the cycle.”

Cymbal did not specify how many of the 800-plus units at the long-planned Marina Lofts complex would be marketed as condos.

The three buildings constituting Marina Lofts will include one designed by architect Bjarke Ingels to appear ripped in half, from jagged top to bottom.

The developer said monthly rents at Marina Lofts would start around $1,295 for a studio, and minimum deposits for condo units probably would exceed 30 percent of the sale price.

“The discussion in Fort Lauderdale was: Can Fort Lauderdale do a hefty-deposit structure like Miami?” Cymbal said. “Thirty [percent] to 50 is what we’ve seen; 35 percent seems to be the sweet spot of the range. There doesn’t seem to be resistance to that structure, and that encourages us.”

Also encouraging are higher condo prices in Fort Lauderdale, particularly among newer developments in the beach area. Cymbal said demand for downtown residences is likely to push the condo appreciation trend westward from the beach, as happened in downtown Miami following “Miami Beach’s condo explosion.”

In Fort Lauderdale, “most of the new condominium developments have been on the beach, and many of them have been very successful,” he said. “It starts on the beach. Prices go up enough to take a hard look at the downtown core, and we believe that’s what’s next in the cycle.”

Asked about the availability of condominium construction financing, Cymbal said financing to construct multifamily rental buildings is easier to get.

“Multifamily financing is far more readily available. That strategy is also more safe. But the margins are thinner, with construction prices having gone up, and with the rental prices being where they are,” he said. “The margins on condos today are better if you can secure absorption.”

The long-pending Marina Lofts development was approved by the Fort Lauderdale City Commission as a three-building, 856-unit rental apartment complex in October 2013.  The six-acre site of the development is located across the New River from the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

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